Tuesday Mavs Donuts: We Open A Bar!
The Dallas Mavericks are in Chicago tonight for a challenge. A big part of it: This is a "homecoming game'' of sorts for the Bulls.
The Bulls have been on the road for two weeks (the circus was in town!) and managed a 4-3 record during their travels while battling the injuries that have in a sense become the franchise trademark.
It is a loaded group not only because of the star quality of Derrick Rose and Paul Gasol, but also because Jimmy Butler (a defense-first type who is suddenly third in the NBA in free-throw attempts) is emerging and because Noah has an important role and because Dunleavy fits his role, too.
Rose is in and out of the lineup and key reserve Taj Gibson isn't ready yet. But this is a big-time contender with a 11-6 record that, again, has come in the face of a ridiculous roadie and a preposterous collection of injuries.
The Bulls ... finally fairly healthy and finally, finally back home? A scary proposition for the Mavs here. A homecoming game.
It's a 6:30 "MAVS Live'' pregame with Dana, Bob and myself, and then a 7 p.m. tipoff. Snuggle up with your TV tonight!
It's every American man's dream (second only to the sex) and we're doing it: We're We've opened a bar! It's called 'The Maverick' and I'd love for you to like us on Facebook and then come see us this week during our (very) soft opening in preparation for the weekend, when we blow it out with burgers, our 30 TVs (including a 200-inch screen) and DFW's hottest band, Incognito.
Come say hi at "The Maverick''!
We thought our Mike Marshall made this clear, but there is still some question as to why some keep referring to Al-Farouq Aminu as "Chief Aminu."
His parents are Aboubakar Aminu and Anjirlic Aminu, and he is a descendant of a line of Nigerian kings. His given name Al-Farouq means "The Chief Has Arrived."
In an era when athletes are more self-aware (and self-absorbed) than ever -- especially when it comes to "branding'' and therefore assigning themselves nicknames -- is there any more pure and fitting nickname than "The Chief''?
We bring this up, by the way, because tonight feels like a "Chief'' night to us.
You will recall how opposed I was to the idea of the Mavs prioritizing Lance Stephenson during Summer Shopping, the central reason being how poisonous I knew his relationship with some of his Pacers teammates was. Lance has some "dawg'' in him (a good thing) and "You can't have all milk drinkers'' (a Carlisle thing) and all that.
So when some of the other options started slipping off the board, and when it appeared Chandler Parsons might be retained in Houston ... yeah, as DB.com reported at the time, Dallas did some very serious base-touching with Stephenson.
Then Houston didn't match Parsons. And he was Dallas-bound. Then Stephenson was scooped up in Charlotte ... where he once again seems a bit ... unhinged.
But wasn't that assumed when the Hornets rolled out this plan? Isn't dealing with all of that built into the Charlotte plan? Amid reports (including from the very reliable Zach Lowe) that they are ready to "talk turkey'' about dealing Lance ... don't they have to make this work?
But ... if they want to give him away ... well, it's our job to review another potential sip of the poison. For the record, we say: The Mavs already have chemistry in place, and as wildly talented as Stephenson is, the "wild'' part cuts deeply into his attractiveness.
But what if you gave up "essentially nothing'' from the Dallas roster in exchange for Lance Stephenson? We review here in Mavs Premium.
When the Bulls have their entire starting lineup intact -- Rose, Butler, Dunleavy, Gasol and Joakim Noah -- they are 5-0.
We think this roster -- as good as it is -- has two problems. One, we wish there was a big who was more of a banger. Greg Smith is that, but he's way down the bench. Chandler Parsons could conceivably do some of that, but doesn't seem terribly interested in such a role. B-Wright seems willing, but despite his added bulk, maybe not quite able.
But at least there are bodies. ... and we bring in David Lord to help us kick that around.
The other hole? A 3-and-D guy ... a big 2-guard guard who is a defensive ace and avoids being an offensive liability by having some perimeter shooting skills.
Once upon a time, having a roster member like that was sort of a staple. Raja Bell. Greg Buckner. Antoine Wright. Adrian Griffin. DeShawn was that, too.
Of course, it's a mold, and everybody doesn't have to fit into a mold. What if the offensive skillset is better than "avoiding being a liability''? Or what if the guy is versatile or unusual or even unique?
Dallas' employment of J-Kidd wasn't "3-and-D'' by the book. He was a point guard, not a 2-guard. He was closer to 6-4 than 6-6. He had one of the most unique skillsets in basketball history.
We wish this team had somebody like that. But Hall-of-Famers don't just fall in your lap.
If we're being accurate in terminology, though, a PG - especially one who can run the offense and set up others with excellence - is a contradiction in terms with being a 3-and-D guy. Again, that 3-and-D player is traditionally a primo defender, who starts off inept on offense and a complete liability there, and learns to shoot 3s so that you can play him more and benefit from his defensive prowess. The hated Bruce Bowen was a great example. His role on offense was get out of the way and allow others to do their thing ... but while he was "getting out of the way,'' he was also spacing the floor, and then hitting the 3 with some degree of regularity if left open.
We think you can find the defend-first 2-guard. We're not sure you can find one who is truly a better 3-point threat than the guys Dallas will put on the floor this year. And we're sure of this, as we get a chance to reflect on Jason Kidd's unusual brilliance here in a week when the Mavs play at Milwaukee, where Kidd is now the head coach: Kidd could be the D; once his quickness eroded in terms of guarding 1's, he muscled up against 2's and was similarly successful. And Kidd was relied on for his superior passing ability and floor generalship, which were core parts of the offense rather than peripheral.
And then he became the "3.'' His shooting at the end of his career was indeed mostly 3s, so in those ways he was somewhat 3-and-D-ish. In his last five years in the league, Kidd took about two-thirds of his shots from behind the arc (making about 38 percent on average).
So some appreciation for Kidd here, and then a concession to the fact that (barring a trade) if Dallas is going to survive in these two areas where we perceive "need'' it'll have to do so with a non-banger winning with unusual skills (Wright) and with a non-3-and-D 2-guard (Monta) doing the same.
Here's McKinneyDentist.com ... with us since 1995! Give "the finest dentists in the land'' a click and a call!
Thanks to Red Rock Bar & Grill, our north Dallas hangout for live music and sports!
Meet LS Wealth Strategies, with Woody and Bill helping to guide my family and available to do the same for you!
Thanks to Estilo Gaucho, authentic Brazilian cuisine, family-owned and operated and just named one of the top 100 steakhouses in America!
And Dee Lincoln's, the famous DFW restauranteur now with a new location near Park and Preston!
One more thing ... Did I mention we're opening a bar?
"They've got a loaded team. They're very physical ... So you've got to bring your competing shoes when you play these guys because it's going to be a meat grinder." - Rick Carlisle.
About those "competing shoes" ... Can they be used to run against the Bulls? Tyson Chandler talks about how this game won't be "up-tempo" and yet adds, "Is it going to be their style of game or is it going to be our style of game?" And in TY asking that question, isn't he pretty much also answering it, at least in regard to what Dallas desires to do here?
I'm a non-linear thinker from way back, and Mark Cuban is, too. But the idea that Tyson Chandler should be shooting 3's "because he makes so many in practice'' or whatever wins The Silly Award for this early season.
It's being discussed now at DB.com Boards. Get in there and crush this for me, will ya?
Old pal Dominique Jones is averaging 43 points a game in China.
Did I mention we've opened a bar? It's called 'The Maverick' and I'd love for you to like us on Facebook and then come see us this week. I mean it!
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